|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2009)|
XTERRA is a series of off-road triathlon races, i.e. three-sport races which include swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. The XTERRA Global Tour is owned and produced by TEAM Unlimited. The XTERRA race series is the best-known series of off-road triathlons, and is considered by most to be the de facto world championship of the sport.
It began in 1996 on the Hawaiian island of Maui as the Aquaterra, and was later renamed the XTERRA. The Japanese company Nissan Motors Corporation named their popular sport utility vehicle (the Nissan Xterra) in 1999 after the race and was the race series' primary sponsor from 1998 to 2006, when the two companies parted ways.
The XTERRA has two primary divisions, professional and "age-groupers". In the professional division athletes compete for cash prizes and sponsorships. The age-group division was created for those who still want to compete but have no aspirations to become professional athletes. Both divisions compete in a points series, where athletes accumulate points by placing in the top fifteen positions of any race in which they compete.
Several events known as XTERRA Championships Series offer more points due to their larger draws. In the United States, there are championships for each region of the country. These venues also offer a "sport" version of the race where contestants complete races that are typically half the distance of the full version.
As an off-road race, the distances can vary widely depending on the terrain available. The target distances are as follows:
- Championship/pro: 1.5 km swim, 30 km mountain biking, 11 km trail run
- Sport: 500 m swim, 15 km mountain biking, 5 km trail Run
In the United States the sport distances are often used as miles yielding a 1/2 mile (805 m) swim, 15 mile (24 km) mountain bike, and a 5-mile (8-km) trail run.
- Zimmerman, Malia (November 15, 1998). "Nissan names SUV after Maui triathlon". Pacific Business News. Retrieved 4 April 2013.